In 2002, Ron Paul offered up using Letters of Marque and Reprisal for going after those terrorists that attacked us on 9/11. The Bush administration and Congress didn’t listen. Almost $1 trillion later Osama Bin Laden is still running around making propaganda videos like Michael Moore.
A couple days ago Ron Paul released a video suggesting the same method for dealing with the pirates looting and pillaging commercial ships off the coast of Somalia. Will Obama and Congress listen now? Yesterday the Pentagon released information indicating that they are toying with the idea of sending ground troops into Somalia, UN sanctioned of course.
Pentagon planners are preparing a variety of options for dealing with Somali pirates, and a United Nations resolution gives them the authority to conduct operations inside Somalia.
“The ultimate solution for piracy is on land,” said Vice Adm. William Gortney, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and the Combined Maritime Forces.
“Piracy around the world stems from activity where there is lawlessness, lack of governance, economic instability; things of that nature. And wherever you have that, you’re going to have criminal activity at sea,” he said at a Monday briefing.
The Defense Department could mean that they aim to send a small contingent of troops into Somalia to combat piracy. However, the third paragraph above suggests that Somalia needs some nation building in order to neutralize the threat of piracy which certainly indicates the use of more than a few American soldiers. This lunacy is more proof of the over-riding “empire mentality” we have when it comes to intervening in world affairs.
What is so morbidly hilarious about this is that in Ron Paul’s video (released less than 24 hours prior to this Pentagon story) he said he was concerned about further U.S. intervention and reminded everyone what happened the last time Clinton (and father Bush) tried to intervene in Somalia. How naive I was to react to Paul’s suggestion in the video with, “Our government would never go for that!” It’s beginning to look like Ron Paul was right (again). I should have known better. Analyzing the way our beloved government is handling the economy should be evidence enough that past failed tactics will be repeated again and again no matter how many times they’ve failed.
Now a somewhat lengthy article from Politico explores Ron Paul’s suggestion in depth. The article puts an almost universally positive spin on using Letters of Marque and Reprisal for combating piracy.
National security experts estimate that this week’s ship captain rescue by Navy SEALs cost tens of millions, although a Navy spokesman says the military cannot confirm the exact cost of the mission.
Instead, privateers would be incentivized to patrol the ocean looking for key targets — and money would be paid only to the contractor who completed the job.
“If we have 100 American wanna-be Rambos patrolling the seas, it’s probably a good way of getting the job done,” said Competitive Enterprise Institute senior fellow and security expert Eli Lehrer. “Right now we have a Navy designed mostly to fight other navies. The weapons we have are all excellent, but they may not be the best ones to fight these kinds of pirates. The only cost under letters of marque would be some sort of bounty for the pirates.”
Do you think this time those in power will listen to Ron Paul or will we see yet another trillion dollars squandered with little benefit and more loss of life?
If the latest Rasmussen poll is any indication it seems we may be in for more costly interventions overseas. 72% of those polled said they support using military action against the pirates. To be clear I have little problem with the way the recent rescue was performed in order to save Captain Phillips. I do have a problem with escalating such actions into another excuse for nation building, occupation, and spreading democracy at the point of a gun.